Long Valley Opera Star Goes from Stage to US Army Chorus

By Evan Wechman

 

Many fans in New Jersey have grown accustomed to seeing Long Valley’s Chelsea Friedlander act and sing on stage at the nation’s finest venues. Friedlander, who has grown up learning how to sing opera and other musical pieces has been acclaimed by both her neighbors and critics.  

However, her latest transition, which may seem a great departure from her normal routine, is one which seems to have truly resonated with her.  Friedlander is now singing full-time as a member of the US Army Chorus, the vocal counterpart of the US Army Band, “Pershing’s Own.”

Friedlander who is well versed in opera, operetta, and musical theater also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from both The Cleveland Institute of Music and The Manhattan School of Music, respectively.

She brings a wealth of passion and experience to her new role, which it seems she has been preparing for since she could first speak. According to Friedlander, her grandfather said about her years ago, “before I could talk, I could sing and before I walk, I could dance.”

Friedlander says she was surrounded as a child by classical music playing throughout the house and started taking voice lessons at the age of 9.  She credits her mother, Helene Friedlander, a classical pianist, in large part for all her achievements.  She says her mother used to pick her up from school and not only drive her to her voice lessons but play music alongside her during her lessons.  “Her love of music and her musical support in me is the reason why I was able to fully devote myself to music and singing” Friedlander says.

Both her strong family ties and her education gave Friedlander the opportunity to pursue work she loves.  Though she has been on-stage most of her career, her newest position with the chorus for the US Army seems to be a great fit. 

“Ever since I was young, all I wanted to do was sing and perform.  Honestly, I had always thought of military chorus positions, but it never seemed to be the right time until this past year.  I am lucky all the stars aligned and was offered the position on my audition day in March (2023).  Over the past few years, I was performing, auditioning, and during the height of Covid had a full vocal studio in addition to teaching at Sellwood Studios in Madison, NJ and thought that was incredibly rewarding.  I really wanted a position that would let me sing full time.   This job lets me do just that.  I am singing every day and making music with talented and fabulous colleagues,” Friedlander says.

She successfully passed the audition phase for “Pershing’s Own,” which included an intense process of singing different musical genres by herself and with the current members of The United States Army Chorus.

She also graduated Basic Training in September of 2023 in Fort Jackson, South Carolina despite the physical and mental demands such a program requires.  She and her family now reside in Arlington, VA where she and her colleagues sing throughout the surrounding area for all branches of government at a wide array of venues.

The chorus requires constant dedication as they may have to sing commercial, pop, classical and anything in between.  Friedlander says she is constantly practicing her craft and still sees her voice teacher via Zoom.

Despite all the hard work the job entails, Friedlander loves singing at all the wonderful places she has been to recently such as The White House and Lincoln Financial Field.  She is looking forward to playing at many more renowned events.

Friedlander is in a great position right now due to her attitude and very hard work.  For aspiring singers in Long Valley, she says “it is critical to continue to hone and cultivate your passions and to think outside the box.  That is how I feel about my newest position in the Army Chorus.  I feel like I created a lot of my own opportunities in Long Valley and beyond with the resources I had and when someone said no, and I was rejected from something, I always came back stronger.”

 

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